This essay offers object biographies of two examples of Lakȟóta beaded regalia that traveled with Wild West performers to France in 1889 and in 1911, respectively, as exemplars of Gerald Vizenor’s concept of survivance. By examining the production of the objects by women artists within the Lakȟóta community and visually analyzing their designs, this article highlights the regalia as an opposition to both settler colonial political suppression and enforced attempts of cultural assimilation. The article stresses that the beadwork’s materiality bears traces of its intended circulation and public display that are enacted when Lakȟóta individuals wore the regalia in the context of Wild West performance in France. Both when rooted in the Lakȟóta community and when circulating through Wild West shows, the objects evince Lakȟóta survivance. When the regalia was acquired by non-Native individuals in France, who projected new meanings onto the objects, the function of the regalia as a public statement of Lakȟóta survivance subtly continued to operate through generated revenue for the community and through the visibility of Lakȟóta culture through continued circulation.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited